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Pune, the new IT hotspot
Sapna Agarwal
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July 19, 2006

Situated on the outskirts of Pune city, close to the Mumbai Pune Express Way, Maharashtra Industial Development Corporation's, Hinjewadi Technology Park is in the midst of developing phase III, spread across 350 hectares.

"This is completely over-booked," said Anil Kawade, Regional Officer, MIDC, while sharing that Tata Consultancy Services [Get Quote] and Tech Mahindra [Get Quote] have been alloted 50 acres and 25 acres each respectively and it has received feelers from Wipro [Get Quote] for acquiring 100 acres and HCL technologies [Get Quote] for 25-30 acres among others. The Park is also set to become home to companies like Accenture, and other global MNCs. Sanjay Khandare, Jt CEO, MIDC says, "The Top five global MNCs have shown interest in Hinjewadi."

However, MIDC's land acquisition process has met with stiff resistance by local farmers and villagers. Of the 350 hectares planned in phase III, it still has to acquire 100. The silver lining to this is that the 250 hectares acquired is proposed to be developed as a Special Economic Zone. MIDC has also got clearance for phase IV spanning 450 hectares. Hopeful of an amicable negotiation, it is planning for phase V spanning 450 acres and even phase VI "if all goes well".

"We have still not got the clearance for phase V and VI, but once approved, Hinjewadi Park will be among the biggest software parks in India with 4,000 acres or 1,700 hectares of area," said Khandare.

This will this make the city the most sought after IT destination? Kiran Karnik, President, Nasscom said, "Compared to 2-3 years ago where Pune was an unknown destination for companies looking at cities in India to set up operations, the city has come a long way." Pointing out to the continuous expansion of companies present here, Kawade said, "The trend indicates that new companies are getting attracted to the Park and existing companies are expanding their operations here."

A look at the statistics suggest that in Maharashtra, the city ranks at No 1. P Venugopal, Director (Mumbai and Pune), STPI said, "In the last three months 26 companies registered in Pune as compared to 20 in Mumbai. Further the city's contributions to the states IT exports at Rs 15,500 crore (Rs 155 billion) for financial year 2005-06 is 60 per cent as compared to Mumbai at 40 per cent."

Even nationally, the city is in the Top five. Alok Goel, deputy director (Delhi), Software Technology Park of India said, "Of the 91 companies registered in May this year, "The National Capital Region registered the highest at 19, followed by Bangalore at 16, Chennai at 14 and Mumbai and Pune received nine each."

Choosing the city for its excellent climate besides its other inherent strengths, C P Gurnani, President, International Operations, Tech Mahindra said, "We are making our single largest investment so far here for developing our campus spread across 25 acres here." So while, Tech Mahindra chose the city for its climate, TCS chose it for its strong academic pool, good social life and healthy environment.

Abidali Neemuchwala, head (western region), TCS said, "We are developing our biggest campus in India here. It will house 10,000 seats on completion and will deliver projects for our clients in manufacturing, engineering and financial services besides leveraging our competencies in R&D."

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